The Inter-Parliamentary Union invited the Parliament of the Kingdom of Tonga (the Parliament) to participate in the 139th IPU Parliamentary Assembly 14 to18 October 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The 139th IPU Assembly brought together over 1500 delegates including 56 Speakers of Parliament, 52 Deputy Speakers, and over 750 MPs.
The People’s Representative of Tongatapu 3, Hon Siaosi Sovaleni, represented the Parliament to the Assembly. The IPU is a Parliamentary institution with 178 member Parliaments.
Hon Sovaleni in addressing the 139th Assembly stated that Parliament’s work can be more relevant and effective when all groups are adequately involved and represented- this includes women, young people and the disabled. He informed the Assembly that on 1st October the Legislative Assembly of Tonga launched a Tonga Youth Parliament awareness program which will be followed in November by an actual practice parliament in mid-November. He also added that a similar practice parliament was held for women in 2014.
‘’The Legislative Assembly of Tonga firmly believe that Tonga stands to benefit by the increased participation of women and young people” added Hon Sovaleni
In the meeting of Small Islands Developing States (SIDS), Tonga together with Samoa, Seychelles, Fiji and Micronesia agreed to put forward a Climate Change resolution to be considered as an emergency resolution by the IPU Assembly.
The Assembly, with149 national parliaments represented, adopted the emergency resolution unanimously calling for decisive action to combat climate change, and committed to sustained, high-level representation and collaboration in the lead up to, and at, the 24th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (COP24),
The resolution acknowledged that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5° C, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty, It also recognized that climate change presents the single greatest threat to the livelihood, security and well-being of the Pacific people.
Parliaments are called upon to support the development of the Rule Book and Guidelines for implementing the Paris Agreement and to encourage their governments to achieve their national determined contributions (NDCs) and 100% renewable energy targets.
Gabriela Cuevas, IPU President, said “Through the adoption of the emergency item on Climate Change, the IPU expresses its commitment to supporting national parliaments in the implementation of all relevant public policies, budgeting strategies and resource mobilization for the efficient and adequate adoption of the Paris Agreement”.
Martin Chungong, IPU Secretary General, said “Parliaments are instrumental in preventing the world from crossing the line of no return. This resolution is a call to action for MPs to translate the Paris Agreement into concrete national legislation and adequate budget allocations.’’
Hon Sovaleni in his address urged the Assembly ‘’that together, we should take a moral stand, and position ourselves on the moral high ground and endeavors to save the world for our children and our children’s children”.
With the adoption of this emergency resolution, the IPU will mobilize its member parliaments at the COP24 taking place in Krakow, Poland, later this year.